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Canadian Canoe Routes

Re-hydrating Tests
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Author:  AndrewMc [ February 4th, 2014, 10:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re-hydrating Tests

Working out very well!

Pasta sauce with ground beef:






Author:  Realstone [ February 13th, 2014, 7:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Re-hydrating Tests

Looks très délicieux. How much weight do you think you saved after dehydrating?

Author:  AndrewMc [ February 14th, 2014, 10:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Re-hydrating Tests

Oh my... Not sure exactly. I'd say the dehydrated stuff weighs at most 1/4 of original? Sort of varies by item.

Author:  Mac [ February 15th, 2014, 8:07 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Re-hydrating Tests

Potatoes dry out to about 16.6% of original weight after blanching and drying.
Dried ground beef made from lean ground beef comes out at ~ 21%. So does lean ground chicken and turkey.
If you do a lot of drying , then weigh the product before and after drying. The numbers are usually very consistent from year to year and can be used to determine how much you need to dry to obtain enough for your next trip(s)

Some veggies dry out to very little. For example fresh bean sprouts only yield about 8% on drying but still retain their flavour.

Author:  Realstone [ February 15th, 2014, 9:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Re-hydrating Tests

Good info, thanks. Got an ad in my local BookFace Buy & Sell In Search Of a used dehydrator. Any recommendations regarding brand, model?

Author:  Mac [ February 15th, 2014, 12:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Re-hydrating Tests

As you probably know by now there are many different types of dehydrators on the market.
Choosing one can be difficult, as the size and the $ you spend on your purchase would depend on how much you plan to use it. ( How much tripping do you plan to do in a year)
I started off with a small $50 one that worked well for many years. When I retired and started to canoe a lot more I purchased a Nesco Gardenmaster with 8 trays. I have had this for about 10+years now and it continues to perform well.
With 8 trays I can cook and then dehydrate ~ 3kg of raw ground beef at a time. That yields about 630g dry. At a usage rate of ~ 35g/person/meal that would allow me to prepare ~18 single meals or 1/2 that number of double meals that used Ground beef or Chicken or Turkey etc.

Author:  Realstone [ February 15th, 2014, 7:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Re-hydrating Tests

Not meaning to hijack the thread here. Mostly day or overnight trips, but there is one trip that would involve twelve meals for four men. We currently take commercially prepared dehydrated food; mostly Mountain House. We really enjoy the brand name food, but I would like to try my hand at dehydrating and can only assume that eventually we would save money.

Author:  AndrewMc [ February 15th, 2014, 7:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Re-hydrating Tests

Mine is a Nesco. Came with 5 trays and I bought a couple more.

Excaliburs get great reviews, although much more expensive. Nesco is said to be next runner up.

I started dehydrating primarily to get rid of MSG from camping diet.

Made up some stew last weekend. Turned out amazing.

Author:  Realstone [ February 15th, 2014, 8:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Re-hydrating Tests

It's amazing to me how well re-hydrated food can taste. A quick check of Mountain House shows no MSG in any of their products

Author:  Mac [ February 16th, 2014, 8:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Re-hydrating Tests

I use a combination of commercial freeze dried and dehydrated meals.
The freeze dried meals are great for those days when you are tent bound in the early spring or late fall because of cold driving rain or snow.
But the commercial meals don't provide a huge number of calories and if that is all you had on longer trips ( 4 or more weeks) you would soon lose body weight. When you prepare your own dehydrated meals you can vary the calories by increasing some of the ingredient quantities.

Author:  pknoerr [ February 16th, 2014, 12:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Re-hydrating Tests

Yeah, I've heard great things about Excaliburs. But I probably only dehydrate maybe 200 trays of food a year, so I went with the Nesco. It's small light, and I've yet to find something that takes very long to dehydrate or doesn't dehydrate well. I do alot to food... clementines, kiwi, strawberries, blueberries, pears, mango and papaya (occasionally bananas and apples). Then we also dehydrate ground beef, shredded chicken, carrots, cabbage, egg beaters, as well as completely made meals. I think I paid $39 on ebay for the unused dehydrator about 8 years ago. The I was walking though the local grocery and ran across 4 more trays and a couple more sauce trays for less than $20 total. So for maybe $60 we can dehydrate for a 2 week trip in about 5 days of dehydrating. The dehydrator works awesome for canoe trips, but I still buy ready made backpacking food for backpacking because it's more compact and it uses less fuel making me lighter and making big mileage days easier on long backpacking trips.


Author:  nessmuk [ February 16th, 2014, 3:24 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Re-hydrating Tests

I've been dehydrating camping food for 20 years. I'm on my third Nesco machine. Besides for myself, 20 years ago I started and continue today making food for an annual wilderness guides training course, up to 30 students and staff for 4 days in the field portion of their training.

When I paddled the first Yukon River 1000 mile canoe race in 2009, the rules required 20Kg (44 pounds) of food per person. It didn't matter if it was cans of wet beans, or high quality high calorie dehydrated food (I wasn't allowed to include the weight of water to make it edible). It was a ridiculous amount of dehydrating. But I dehydrated all breakfast and dinner meals for my voyageur crew of 7. Do the math (though I did not dehydrate each person's midday snacks). It worked out great, one crew member would sit out to tend boiling water, and fill each of 7 mugs with rehydrated food while everyone else continued paddling. Did I say the requirement was a ridiculous amount of food? We used about a quarter of what we had to bring, and still ate all we could handle - no one lost weight in the 6 days of paddling, and we finished first. That food weight requirement was dropped for subsequent races.

Author:  AndrewMc [ February 17th, 2014, 10:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Re-hydrating Tests

Wow. That does sound like a lot of work! I know how much I've put into it already just for a handful of trips for 2 guys.

Author:  Canoeheadted [ February 17th, 2014, 12:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Re-hydrating Tests

Make it less work.

Make a double batch of your favourite meals, eat for a couple of days at home, then portion out the rest and dehydrate it.
Save some cooking time at home and a bunch more out on the trip.
Our favourites… baked spaghetti, baked lasagna, chicken/pork fried rice, chili, tomato and sausage soup, and chinese laundry (chow mien noodle casserole).
We used to do ingredients separately but have since changed our tune.

Myself, I find our pre made meals taste exactly like at home. Whereas putting all the dehydrated parts together doesn't seem to achieve the same "just like home" taste.

Of course there still is a place for single dried ingredients. Supplementing meals, certain bakings, snacks, etc…

Oh ya, another vote for Nesco American Harvest Gardenmaster.

Author:  pknoerr [ February 17th, 2014, 2:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Re-hydrating Tests

Ted's exactly right. That's exactly what we do too (and what I meant when I said "completed meals" in the prior posting). Lasagna, beef stew, pot roast from the crockpot, taco meat, stuffed green peppers, korean bulgogi, Morrocan lemon chicken, asian stir name it. We make dinner while at home. Some are several days food for the the two of us. So we dehydrate two portions. Our experience is the same as Ted... it tastes much closer to the original meal than trying to make it in the field. We pout some water into the ziplock at lunch. Maybe add a little more if needed at a portage or afternoon break. Then check it when you get to camp for consistency. When you are ready for dinner it's a few minutes and you are eating a meal that tastes virtually the same as it did when you made it at home a few weeks ago.


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